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They didn’t play that poorly in Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final Saturday evening, but the Edmonton Oilers were shut out, 3-0. Game 2 is Monday evening, as the Panthers look to again defend home ice in South Florida.

Florida, losing the Cup Final to the Vegas Golden Knight in five games last season, entered this series as a tepid choice to win a first-ever title.

Returning to the opener of the series, Edmonton had the better of the territorial play over much of the game, outshooting the Panthers by a margin of 32-17. Edmonton unfortunately faced a stone wall in Panther goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, enhancing his case as the best at his position in the league.

Meanwhile, the Panthers scored in each period, the last an empty-net goal. Carter Verhaeghe, who had 38 goals during the regular season, broke the seal with his team-leading 10th of the postseason. Evan Rodrigues and Eetu Lostarinen also had goals.

Game 2 finds the Panthers as -130 favorites (Edmonton at +110), according to NHL odds by BetUS Sportsbook.

NHL Stanley Cup Final Panthers vs. Oilers Odds By Betus

Team SP/RL TOTAL ML
Panthers +1½ ( -240 ) 5½ ( -105 ) +110
Oilers -1½ ( +200 ) 5½ ( -115 ) -130
Bet Now on this Game

Oilers Didn’t Score

It’s a basic tenet of every sports event in sports…teams can’t win if teams can’t score. The Edmonton Oilers, explosive as any outfit in the NHL, were blanked in the opener.

It wasn’t a lack of effort, Connor McDavid had six shots on goals, and Leon Draisaitl had four.

In a series where special teams figure to play a role, Edmonton was 0-of-3 with the man advantage. Florida hasn’t allowed a man-advantage goal in the opposition’s last 30 tries.

McDavid has a league-leading 26 assists and 31 points in these playoffs, and a pretty fair statement to guess there was much watching of video Sunday.

Panthers Stingy ‘D’

It’s no secret the Florida Panthers play a ‘heavy’ game, They don’t give the other guys much space to manipulate.

The shutout in the series opener was the 10th time in the last 11 postseason games the Panthers held the opposition to two or fewer goals.

As was mentioned, Edmonton, out to bring Canada its first Stanley Cup since 1993, had its chances, nearly twice as many shots and several quality chances on goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Therein lies the rub, as in “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?’ Edmonton had its way with the puck often in the opener, but the payoff window was closed.

Pricing the Series

There are still some great betting opportunities surrounding the Stanley Cup Final, though it’s going to be a bit more expensive to back the Florida Panthers.

Florida is now priced at -245, as per NHL Stanley Cup odds. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers might be quite enticing at +205. Edmonton lost its second-round opener at the Vancouver Canucks and was down three games to two in that series. It closed out bothe Canucks and Dallas Stars (six games) on the road.

Winning the Smythe

Meanwhile, after his 3-0 shutout in Game 1 of this series, Sergei Bobrovsky is the clear, 2-1 (+200) betting favorite to win the Conn Smythe playoff MVP award. Florida’s Aleksander Barkov and the Oilers’ Connor McDavid are listed at 3-1 (+300), while the Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk is a 5-1 (+500) proposition. Everyone else is in double figures on the board.

The teams travel to Alberta, with Games 3 and 4 going Thursday and Saturday evenings.

Here are the previous winners of the award since 2000 (note lockout meant no 2004-05 season)

  • 2023: Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights
  • 2022: Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
  • 2021: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2020: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2019: Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues
  • 2018: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
  • 2017: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2016: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2015: Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2014: Justin Williams, Los Angeles Kings
  • 2013: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2012: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
  • 2011: Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
  • 2010: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
  • 2009: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 2008: Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2007: Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim Ducks
  • 2006: Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes
  • 2004: Brad Richards, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • 2003: Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
  • 2002: Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
  • 2001: Patrick Roy, Colorado Avalanche
  • 2000: Scott Stevens, New Jersey Devils
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